In 1764 the German settlers of the North End of Halifax, known at that time as Germantown, petitioned the Governor in Council to rename the near north suburbs of the Halifax settlement “Gottingen” rather than “Germantown.” The name Gottingen was chosen as a sort of homage to the British monarch of the time, George II, who was of
German ancestry, descended from the Gottingen line. He founded Gottingen University in 1734. This is a notable event in the evolution of Halifax and one of the first signs of democratic government in Canada.
The 250th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the special and significant history of North End Halifax’s main street. The North End Business Association proposes to commemorate the naming of the Gottingen Street area with a week-long festival in summer 2014.
Tradition and Community
In addition to strengthening both the sense of community and the traditions of the Gottingen Street area, this celebration will help recognize the vital contributions of the German settlers to the Gottingen area, as well as recognize the vibrant cultural mix that contributes to the diverse character of area residents today.
Planning is already underway. With the support of the community, council members and local businesses, this celebration will foster community pride and provide a chance to highlight the uniqueness of our community.
Making a Celebration
Through food, history, celebration and storytelling, people will be drawn back to their childhood neighbourhoods and rekindle their connection to the past with a positive, united future in mind.
An outdoor farmers’ market and cultural food barbecue will link current residents to the historic German connection to Gottingen Street and the province’s rich agricultural heritage. This kick-off event will also see the unveiling of the open air Gottingen Street Stage, for which an application will be made to HRM for legacy project funding.
The stage will regularly showcase musicians, storytellers, poets and artists. It will be a venue for lectures and community meetings and serve as a marketplace and gathering space for public events and festivals. These performances will help bring additional exposure to local talent.
Modern Links to History
There will be a re-enactment – in the same church where it originally took place in 1764 – of the commemorative service held to recognize the re-naming of the area. The “Little Dutch Church” on Brunswick Street was historically known for accepting people of all creeds to its congregation. The service was conducted by a government official in English, German and French.
Descendants of the original Gottingen area German settlers who relocated to Lunenburg in 1753 will be invited to take part.
The University of Gottingen in Germany is celebrating its 280th anniversary in 2014. Involving the university and people of that area in this celebration is also planned.
NEBA has confirmed and enthusiastic support from the local arts community, the Province, HRM, numerous North End businesses, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, the German Canadian Association of Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre, The Coast weekly, Global Television, Oland Breweries and Propeller Brewing Company.
With the addition of your generous assistance, the Gottingen 250 festival will be an exciting and resonating community event – honouring the past while looking to the future.